Rated G - Running Time: 1:16 - Released 2/11/00

For those who love Winnie The Pooh, Tigger, and the various other characters created by A. A. Milne, and feel that Pooh has gotten all the glory while the more spirited Tigger has been forced to play second banana, The Tigger Movie is for you. This is a story in which Tigger is the main character, and Winnie and the others serve in supporting roles. For Pooh purists, it may be a disappointment, since none of the original actors who took part in classics like Winnie The Pooh And The Blustery Day are present (with the sole exception of John Fiedler, who has played the voice of Piglet all these years). But this change of personnel is a consequence of a long-lasting cartoon series; the actors whose voices we have grown accustomed to have either died or retired, and what we are left with is a group of impersonators who, while talented, are impersonators just the same.

Actually, Jim Cummings (voices of Pooh and Tigger), Ken Sansom (Rabbit), and Peter Cullen (Eeyore) have been around the Hundred Acre Wood a few times already, in the 1997 video release Pooh's Grand Adventure: The Search For Christopher Robin and various other recent titles, and they've become quite accomplished at mimicking the vocal characterizations of Sterling Holloway, Paul Winchell, and the rest. Assuming Sebastian Cabot's old role of narrator is none other than John Hurt. The voices are all perfectly adequate and the impersonations sometimes uncanny, but even so, the plot of The Tigger Movie is not terribly original.

Written and directed by Jun Falkenstein, the film tells the story of the energetic, black-and-orange striped creature whose claim to fame has always been that he's "the only one." But Tigger has grown tired of his uniqueness, and desires to find others like him who can bounce properly and do other Tiggerish things. When the idea dawns on him that all creatures have a mother, he begins a quest to find his family. But his search comes up empty, and his well-meaning friends decide to send a phony letter from his relatives to lift his spirits. Tigger misinterprets the letter to imply that his long-lost clan is coming to visit, and soon begins elaborate preparations for their arrival. Pooh and the rest are faced with either continuning the charade and allowing Tigger to be disappointed, or admitting their deceitful deed and possibly losing his friendship. Very serious issues for those stuffed with fluff.

Although the animation and vocal characterizations are more or less what we have come to expect from the Pooh/Tigger franchise, it seems that in the plot department, the producers are running out of ideas. This could well be attributed to the fact that Milne's creations have joined the vast roster of cartoon characters owned by Disney, the Wal-Mart of entertainment, a company becoming known for running out of ideas. Again we are treated to the Pooh-in-the-honey-tree sequence, again we see Eyeore's house destroyed, again Roo aspires to be just like his best buddy, Tigger. In addition, most of the film's musical numbers by Disney song legends Richard and Robert Sherman seem intended solely to pad out the film's running time. The notable exception is the song Tigger sings about his "family reunion," which features a hilarious clan of Tigger-esque characters imposed on great works of art and molded into various famous personages.

Compared to the likes of Blustery Day, The Tigger Movie is a rather pale shadow of its predecessors. But it will serve to fill the black hole of film entertainment that exists every year between Christmas and Oscar time. So more power to it. ***½

Copyright 2000 by John R. McEwen and The Republican

See Current Reviews

See FilmQuips Archive